Assessing the quality of asthma care provided to Medicaid patients enrolled in managed care organizations in Connecticut

Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2001 Feb;86(2):211-8. doi: 10.1016/S1081-1206(10)62693-2.


Background: Many states have enrolled Medicaid beneficiaries in managed care organizations (MCOs). Few assessments of the quality of asthma care provided by these new programs are available.

Objective: To describe the quality of care provided to asthmatic Medicaid children enrolled in MCOs.

Methods: For this cross-sectional survey, a chart abstraction tool was developed to evaluate fulfillment of key performance measures chosen from a national guideline for asthma diagnosis and management. These measures were prescription of an inhaled anti-inflammatory medication, accomplishment of patient education, evaluation of exposure to environmental triggers of asthma, and administration of influenza vaccination. From State of Connecticut administrative databases, a random sampling of Medicaid children, ages 5 to 18 years, enrolled in four MCOs was selected. Chart entries from July 1, 1996 to June 30, 1997 were reviewed using the abstraction tool. Accomplishment of performance measures was evaluated for the total sample and for children who were high utilizers of medical services (at least one ED visit or hospitalization during the study period).

Results: For 80 high utilizers among 315 children, completion of performance measures was suboptimal: 46% were prescribed inhaled steroids; an action plan was outlined for 43%; evaluation of patient or family tobacco use was documented for 56%; evaluation of the presence of a pet for 43% or mite exposure for 19%; and allergy skin testing or RAST was accomplished for 15%.

Conclusions: This information suggests that opportunities exist to improve the quality of care for these children.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Asthma / diagnosis
  • Asthma / therapy*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Connecticut
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Managed Care Programs / standards*
  • Medicaid / standards*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care*
  • Socioeconomic Factors